Lamb: Not really. I've had discussions with them, and they've talked about wanting to be a party to the operations of anything they would invest in, and I guess that makes a lot of sense. I don't like looking at a question out of context without looking at the entire plan. I don't know what that is. My criticism, if you want to call it that, is that we don't have any details as to what the Ambassador Bridge has in mind.
Alt: The subtext of the LaKamp article seemed to be that you (the Peace Bridge Authority) might not be able to get the federal funding for bridge expansion, which would leave the Detroit International Bridge Company in the driver's seat, wouldn't it? Do you think that they're lobbying to cut off your funding?
Lamb: I don't have any evidence that that's occurring. I doubt that lobbying to cut off our funding would be effective. I don't know any responsible people who are in a position to make decisions about funding who would decide not to fund our project just because of...
Alt: ... lobbying to benefit the company?
Alt: Well, the bridge company does have a history of making donations to political campaigns. Another thing we'd like to touch upon is the involvement of Warren Buffett who did about a quarter of the Detroit International Bridge Company at one point. Do you know if he's involved with any sort of business relationship with the Moroun family or the bridge?
Lamb: I have no idea. I don't think so.
Alt: Don't you think that The Buffalo News has a responsibility to report that and make that clear?
Lamb: You mean that Warren Buffett held shares in the bridge?
Lamb: I don't know that I could comment on what The Buffalo News' responsibilities are but I have no knowledge that would indicate that there' s even a probability that Warren Buffett has an interest in the Ambassador Bridge. Alt: According to an article in the Bloomberg News, they indicated that Buffett sold his shares but it seems likely that Moroun holds shares in Berkshire Hathaway, since it mentioned his attendance at a shareholders meeting. So perhaps there still is a relationship.
Lamb: Could be. But in terms of financing, my own personal view is that there will be a financing plan that will be feasible and that will enable the Peace Bridge to go ahead with this project.
Alt: So you're still confident that you will be able to go ahead with your project.
Lamb: Sure. The key to this whole thing is that our plan makes sense. It's a reasonable plan, one that the city and the public will support, and I think that's the key to what's going to enable to finance this project. Our plan is reasonable. It meets the needs that we have here and it has the city support, the Town of Fort Erie's support, and the Canadian government's support. If we have that, then we'll have a project that we can build.
Alt: Right, when we last spoke with Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop, he was not supportive of the Detroit International Bridge Company's plans, at all. Having a private family run business basically own an international trade corridor is a bit uncalled for to him. What do you think?
Lamb: Well, people will raise the question of monopoly. I think that it's a legitimate question that needs to be answered. They have the bridge in Detroit, and then if they were to have the bridge here, I think that it would raise a question that the public would need to hear the answer to.
Alt: Opponents of the Peace Bridge Authority waged a public relations campaign that seems to have lingering effects. How is the public hearing process coming along now?
Lamb: I think it's good. I think we're approaching the concerns of the public. You'll never get a one hundred percent rating, but I think that the majority of the people see this as a legitimate, responsive process. We've got an open, defined, and very transparent process. The Ambassador Bridge has talked about doing this but we haven't seen the details and it seems to be in contrast to what we're doing. We're showing details as we're putting them together and formulating them and there's always a risk in doing that. People see these things as being in their final form and they're not. We're giving people a chance to participate in the final form.
Alt: Arguments on the aesthetics of a public space generally seem to be arguments about power. Aesthetically, do you think a plan that will be acceptable to those who were arguing for a signature span?
Lamb: First of all, we're not looking at building a twin or replica of the existing bridge. We're looking at building something that, when people look at it, they'll get excited about it and say Wow. People will be able to attach this place with the bridge. We want to build a landmark bridge, one that people will remember seeing when they pass by, and people who live here will be proud of it.
Alt: Does that mean that it will be a cable-stayed bridge? It seemed like a lot of Signature Span people were sort of locked into that sort of look.
Lamb: We're not looking to force any one type of bridge. I think it will come out in the process, the one that's most aesthetically pleasing to people.
Alt: But doesn't the geology dictate something like what we have now with the Parker truss?
Lamb: No. Many different types of bridges are possible. Alt: The stated goal of the Detroit International Bridge Company is to take over the operations of the Peace Bridge Authority. What do you think of that? Did you see that comment in The Buffalo News?
Lamb: The problem here is that the Ambassador Bridge people say that they have a plan. When you ask me a question about one part of the plan, I'd prefer to hear what the whole plan is and then address that. I don't want to beg off on the question, but when you take that question by itself, in that context, naturally, there's a negative connotation to it. We don't know what they mean when they talk about taking over operations of the Peace Bridge.